A transgender woman has been found not guilty of public indecency charges stemming from complaints that she allegedly exposed herself in the women’s locker room at a YMCA in Xenia, Ohio.
Rachel Glines, 31, of Fairborn, had been charged with three counts of public indecency after patrons of the YMCA filed complaints with local police alleging that a “naked man” was using the women’s locker room.
The incidents are said to have occurred in September and November 2022, with the third incident taking place “sometime between November 2021 and 2022,” leading Glines’s lawyers to argue the third charge should be dropped for vagueness about when the alleged exposure occurred.
Witness testimony in court earlier this year claimed that Glines had been in a state of complete undress during all three incidents, which happened in the common area of the women’s locker room, with one woman saying she was shocked to see a “naked man” in the locker room, and another testifying that she could see Glines’s buttocks as they walked down the common hallway.
However, none of the three complaining witnesses said they did not see Glines’s genital area, either because they removed themselves from the situation, or because the area was covered by other parts of the body.
In a decision filed last Friday evening, Judge David McNamee ruled that there was no evidence Glines had exposed her genitals in the locker room, reports the Dayton Daily News. The judge noted that the case focuses on two elements: exposure of private parts, and a culpable state of mind.
“The state argues that the court should subjectively determine the quality and nature of the coverage that prevents exposure of genitalia,” McNamee wrote. “The court declines to do so.”
McNamee also said there was “little dispute as to the facts of the case,” noting that Jacqueline Brockman, the executive director of the Fairborn YMCA, testified that Glines had been authorized by herself and other employees to use women’s locker room facilities at all YMCA locations in the Greater Dayton area, including the Xenia location.
“There is no question that [Glines] was in the women’s locker room,” he wrote. “However, [Glines] was not charged with trespass, nor was [Glines] charged with being in an area of the YMCA where [Glines] was not supposed to be. Quite simply, the facts do not exist to support a find of guilt, as charges.”
Glines’s attorneys celebrated the ruling as a vindication for their client.
“The facts and law have been on Ms. Glines’s side from the beginning. It’s unfortunate not only for her, but for the entire community, that the filing of these charges ever occurred,” attorneys Lauren Dever and Keara Dever said in a statement.
“We are grateful that the rule of law and the truth prevailed so that Ms. Glines and the community can move on in peace.”
The YMCA of Greater Dayton has previously stated that Ohio’s nondiscrimination laws require it to allow transgender individuals to use locker rooms or restrooms matching their gender identity, and they will continue to comply with the law, according to Cox-owned AM radio station WHIO.
“Under no circumstance will we investigate an individual’s birth identity and then assign individuals to locker rooms. That would be counter to the law, counter to respect for all people, and it is not who or what we are as an organization,” the organization said in a statement.
The YMCA did note that posted locker room guidelines ask patrons to “remain properly covered while in public areas of the locker room.”
Questions remain about how courts will continue to address transgender access to restrooms or changing spaces matching their gender identity.
Tom Hagel, professor emeritus at the University of Dayton School of Law, told ABC/FOX/MyNetworkTV affiliate WRGT that the judge’s ruling was the right one, although he said that there will continue to be issues with similar incidents until a permanent solution is reached on whether transgender people who are transitioning can access gender-affirming spaces.
The City of Xenia has declined to comment on the case, although there had previously been speculation that the city was considering suing the YMCA on behalf of cisgender women uncomfortable about Glines’s presence in women’s facilities.
As Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO previously reported, Xenia Council President Will Urschel bragged earlier this year to a meeting of the Greene County Tea Party that the city would be suing the YMCA for “aiding and abetting” the crime if Glines were to be found guilty on the public indecency charges. But the city later backed away from those assertions, saying its law department had no plans to sue the YMCA.
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